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South32 H1'18 profit drops 12% YOY; higher dividends declared

TOP NEWS

South32 H1'18 profit drops 12% YOY; higher dividends declared

South32 Ltd. booked a 12% lower net profit of US$543 million, or 10.5 cents per basic share, in the first half of its fiscal 2018, from a post-tax profit of US$620 million, or 11.7 cents per basic share, in the first half of fiscal 2017. Despite the drop in net profit, the BHP Billiton Group spinoff declared a 3.0 cents special dividend on top of an interim dividend of 4.3 cents per share, which is 19% higher than its inaugural interim dividend of 3.6 cents per share in the same year-ago period.

Barrick Gold sinks to net loss in Q4'17

Barrick Gold Corp. reported a net loss of US$314 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, swinging from a year-ago profit of US$425 million. The company's gold and copper production slid to 1.34 million ounces and 99 million pounds, respectively, compared to 1.52 million gold ounces and 101 million pounds of copper. The company expects to produce between 4.5 million and 5.0 million ounces of gold and between 385 million and 450 million pounds of copper in 2018.

Goldcorp Q4, FY'17 earnings up YOY

Goldcorp Inc.'s net earnings in the fourth quarter of 2017 more than doubled despite the company posting lower gold production and sales on a yearly basis. Net earnings totaled US$242 million, or 28 U.S cents per share, compared to US$101 million, or 12 cents per share, posted in the comparable 2016 quarter. For the entire year, net earnings were US$658 million, or 76 cents per share, increasing from US$162 million, or 19 cents per share, recorded in 2016.

BASE METALS

* Finders Resources Ltd. reiterated its recommendation to shareholders to reject the "opportunistic offer" from Eastern Field Developments Ltd. after the latter declared it unconditional. Eastern Field said Feb. 14 that five months after announcing its takeover offer of 23 Australian cents per share, it is still the only bidder for Finders, despite the latter's search for "a white knight suitor."

* A decision to proceed with the development of Teck Resources Ltd.'s Quebrada Blanca phase two expansion project in northern Chile is not expected before the second half of 2018, provided the necessary regulatory approval and market conditions are met. Nevertheless, project development expenditures for the first four months of 2018 are anticipated to be about US$100 million, the company said in its fourth-quarter unaudited results report for 2017, daily Diario Financiero reported.

* Sherritt International Corp. reduced its debt by C$121.2 million through a recently closed Dutch auction tender offer to purchase for cash debentures and notes due in 2021, 2023 and 2025.

* MaxTech Ventures Inc. agreed to strategic cooperation with Kiuso Corp. of Toronto and Kabwe, Zambia, allowing Maxtech to expand into other battery metals.

* Tethyan Resources Plc signed a binding letter of intent to acquire Balkan Minerals Ltd.'s Taor doo unit, which owns two exploration licenses adjacent to Tethyan's optioned Suva Ruda license within Serbia's historical Raška lead and zinc mining district.

* Great Atlantic Resources Corp. signed a letter of intent to option a 75% stake in the Kagoot Brook cobalt project in New Brunswick to Explorex Resources Inc.

* S&P Global Ratings lifted its long-term issuer credit rating on First Quantum Minerals Ltd. to B from B-, with a stable outlook. The move reflects the expectation that the company's earnings will improve significantly this year on the back of higher copper prices and it will continue material deleveraging in the coming years.

* EMR Capital said it plans to double production at the Lubambe copper mine in Zambia to over 40,000 tonnes in the next two years after it completed the acquisition of a majority stake in the asset for US$100 million, Reuters reported.

PRECIOUS METALS

* PJSC Polyus' profit for the fourth quarter of 2017 declined 28% over the third quarter to US$267 million, partly reflecting the decrease in operating profit and impact of noncash items in the period. Revenue in the three-month period remained stable quarter over quarter at US$743 million, while gold sales increased 3% to 597,000 ounces and production dropped 10% to 580,000 ounces.

* Despite lower metal sales, Kinross Gold Corp. swung to net earnings attributable to shareholders of US$217.6 million, or 17 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2017, from a year-ago net loss of US$116.5 million, or 9 cents per share. Meanwhile, for full year 2017, Kinross swung to net earnings of US$445.4 million, or 35 cents apiece, compared to a net loss of US$104.0 million, or 8 cents per share, in 2016.

* Newcrest Mining Ltd. declared a fully franked interim dividend of 7.5 U.S. cents per share for the first half of fiscal 2018 after its net profit attributable to shareholders plummeted 48% year over year to US$98 million. Sales revenue in the six-month period declined 5% year over year to US$1.72 billion. The company's gold production declined 8% over the year-ago output to 1.14 million ounces, while all-in sustaining costs increased 12% year over year to US$860 per ounce.

* Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd.'s net profit in the fourth quarter of 2017 declined 44.0% year over year to US$35.1 million, or 15 cents per share, from US$62.7 million, or 28 cents per share. Quarterly revenues climbed 13% year over year to US$565.3 million from US$499.2 million, while operating costs rose 12.8% to US$287.7 million in the three-month period, from US$255.1 million a year earlier. The company declared a quarterly dividend of 11 cents per share.

* Evolution Mining Ltd. reported a 10% year-over-year decline in its statutory profit after tax to A$122.5 million for the first half of its fiscal 2018, but underlying profit after tax improved by 8% to A$124.7 million. Sales revenue grew by 10% on a yearly basis to A$782.1 million, while EBITDA in the period rose 16% year over year to A$399.1 million.

* Gascoyne Resources Ltd. said that construction at its Dalgaranga project is currently within budget and about one month ahead of schedule, with first gold expected in three months.

* Palisade Business Consulting Pty. Ltd.'s Jack James and Paula Smith were appointed voluntary administrators of cash-strapped gold miner Central Asia Resources Ltd. Palisade said that Central Asia Resources' creditors are planning a second meeting to decide on the future of the company, which was already suspended from official quotation on the ASX.

* Gowest Gold Ltd. entered into an agreement to sell gold concentrate to be produced from its Bradshaw gold project in Ontario to China-based Shandong Humon Smelting.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Russia's En+ Group plc tapped foreign banks for the sale of US$1 billion of shares in the company, Reuters reported, citing sources. However, some U.S. banks that worked with En+ on its IPO in November 2017 are reluctant to participate in the share sale as the company manages the metals and energy assets of Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska, who was included in a U.S. Department of the Treasury list of Russian oligarchs it considered close to the Kremlin.

* En+ Group said that it has no formal plans for a secondary public offering, in response to prevailing news reports about a potential offering of the company's shares.

* Adani Enterprises Ltd. is targeting mine acquisitions outside of Australia even as it struggles to develop its Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, Reuters reported. Rajendra Singh, COO of Adani's coal trading business, said the group already owns a mine in Indonesia and it is seeking more options there. "We're also keeping our eyes open for options in other areas like south African countries, countries like Russia," he added.

* JFE Holdings Inc. will spend more than ¥650 billion over the next three years to upgrade its domestic production facilities to increase productivity and competitiveness, Reuters reported, citing JFE Holdings President Eiji Hayashida.

* State-owned Steel Authority of India Ltd. is inviting expressions of interest for the sale of its alloy steels plant in Durgapur in the Indian state of West Bengal. The plant has the capacity to produce 2.5 million tonnes per year of liquid steel and 1.8 Mt/y of salable steel.

* Mongolian coal exports dropped 24.1% year over year in January to nearly 2 million tonnes due to supply disruptions at its border with China, Reuters reported, citing data published by Mongolia's National Statistics Office. The country's overall mineral exports fell 6.3%.

* Creditors of Mechel PAO that were seeking repayments of US$1 billion in loans withdrew a lawsuit against the company, Vedomosti reported. Five out of 11 creditors abandoned their claims.

SPECIALTY

* Botswana Diamonds Plc kicked off a scoping study for its Thorny River diamond project in South Africa. The study, expected to take six months, will further refine the volumes of diamonds in-situ, the grade and the value per tonne of ore.

* A Chilean court of appeals ratified a previous off-court agreement for the conditional suspension of an investigation into Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA subsidiaries SQM Salar SA and SQM Nitrates SA over payments to politically exposed persons between 2018 and 2015. The companies and the National Public Prosecutor's Office agreed to defer prosecution in January 2018, a decision which was opposed and appealed by the country's National Defense Council, daily La Tercera reported.

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 7 a.m. London time, and scans news sources published in Chinese, English, Indonesian, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai and Ukrainian. Some external links may require a subscription.